July 6, 2021
In June 2021 the California Lutheran University Financial Planning scholarship was awarded to Laura Lee. This scholarship was jointly established with the CFP Board Center for Financial Planning. Scholarships aim to help increase the number of CFP® professionals from populations currently underrepresented in the financial planning profession regarding gender, race, and ethnicity.
Meet the Awardee, Laura Lee
Lee started her career at the Specialty Coffee Association in 2007 and for 13 years she traveled to over 25 countries. She served on the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) board of directors, a registered non-profit, building community among female coffee producers around the world. She served as a Membership Committee chairperson responsible for organizing communication between current chapters and recruiting new countries to come on board. This grew her passion for supporting female professionals to achieve their financial goals. Now looking to transition into financial planning, Lee looks forward to using her education to support professional women and diverse communities.
Why Lee Choose California Lutheran University
“Going to grad school has been a dream of mine,” Lee said. She worked while her husband went to grad school and raised a family. “We saved and planned, the scholarship is part of making that plan come to fruition so that I could go back to grad school. It’s a joy and I can’t wait to tell my kids why I did it and they should do the same one day to pursue education,” she said.
When searching for an MBA program with a focus on financial planning, Lee found California Lutheran University (CLU) to be “unique with the curriculum they had for their MBA in Financial Planning and that it was specifically tailored to that profession,” Lee said. Intending to finish both her MBA and pass the CFP ® exam in the next two years, Lee said CLU has everything you need to know in preparation for the CFP ® exam. “It was really the only institution that I could find like that,” she said. Other parts of the program that influenced her choice were the convenience of the classes being online and manageable as a working mom with four small children.
Lee’s Plans for After California Lutheran University
After Lee has finished her MBA and earned her CFP ® certification, she wants to follow in the footsteps of her father. Living in the Inland Empire area of Southern California, her father is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) with a focus on succession planning, however, his demographic is primarily retired. “The future will be acquiring some of these firms, like my dad, being a planner. Then beyond a business plan, I want to focus on diverse communities specifically in the Inland Empire i.e. the town Loma Linda and the University of California, Riverside. I’ll be working with future plans, current plans, and specifically women business owners,” Lee said.
What Lee is Most Excited About the Program
After stepping away from education for fifteen years to pursue her career following her undergraduate studies, Lee is excited to be in an academic setting again. “I’m coming into CLU with a very specific focus and determined goals. I want to retain the information in each class because it’s going to be so applied,” she said.
Lee is also excited to be on a leadership team with “really strong females with great credentials and strong leadership skills from what I’ve seen from my brief experience so far,” she said. Along with having other interactions with fellow students and colleagues from across the U.S.
From her job in the coffee industry, Lee has built a wide network of contacts and colleagues from around the world. “One question for me that I want to discover in this program is that financial planning, from my experience of it, has been a domestic service. I don’t know, but I’m sure small-to-mid-sized firms manage internationally or for those with dual-citizenship. That’s an area for me that would bridge my last career with this one and a topic that I’m really interested in exploring,” Lee said.
The Importance of Building Relationships
“I’ve always thought of financial planning as a more holistic relationship and not purely transactional. I’ve really adopted that from my career in coffee,” Lee said. Over the years, Lee built relationships with the people she worked with learning about their families and goals to build marketing plans. The holistic aspect of relationships and the transfer of wealth from one generation to another is something that Lee looks forward to learning more about in the topic of financial planning.
About the Interviewee:
Laura Lee started her career at the Specialty Coffee Association in 2007 and for 13 years she traveled to over 25 countries. She served on the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) board of directors. It is a registered non-profit, building community among female coffee producers around the world. She served as a Membership Committee chairperson responsible for organizing communication between current chapters and recruiting new countries to come on board. This grew her passion for supporting female professionals to achieve their financial goals. Now looking to transition into financial planning, Lee looks forward to using her education to support professional women and diverse communities. She plans to use the scholarship funds towards the MBA in Financial Planning from California Lutheran University and to sit the CFP® exam in March 2023.
About the Author:
Rosie Baker graduated Magna Cum Laude from California Lutheran University in May 2021 with honors and departmental distinction. Her bachelor’s degree is in Communication emphasizing in PR and Advertising, minoring in Creative Writing. In July 2020, she published her first book, Mirrors & Windows: Unlocking a New Framework to Envision Your Success, with New Degree Press.